Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways To Connect

Honeywell

Much of the focus of the Onondaga Lake clean-up project has been on the lake itself with dredging completed last fall and capping operations set to begin this spring.  But there’s also been an effort to clean and restore  44 acres of contaminated  wetlands in the lake’s watershed.  This report takes a closer look at what’s being done…and the wetlands' role in the return of the lake’s ecology. It’s a chilly, early spring day, and we’ve pulled up to where Geddes Brook joins Nine Mile Creek, just across the 695 freeway from the state fairgrounds.    SUNY ESF Professor and Chair of Environmental and Forest Biology Don Leopold says the now meandering brook didn’t always look like this.  Before, it resembled more of a ditch surrounded by a single invasive plant.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Four months after Congress authorized the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn as a National Historical Park, advocates are still waiting for the National Park Service to finalize the details.  Senator Chuck Schumer stopped in Auburn to call on the NPS to fast-track the designation so it can receive critical federal funding.    He visited not long after being elected senator about 15 years ago, and remembers people saying then how National Park status could boost Tubman’s…and the community’s exposure. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has released her budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and it once again holds the line on property taxes and water and sewer rates.    Miner says the $674 million spending plan is the result of continued difficult fiscal decisions that don’t require more sacrifice from residents of the 23rd poorest city in the nation.    

Scott Willis / WAER News

It appears the problem of counterfeit cash circulating through the Syracuse area is growing, and affecting more businesses.  A little over a week ago, Syracuse Police issued an alert about phony $100 bills.    Senator Chuck Schumer stopped by a Byrne Dairy store in Camillus Monday, an example of 10 stores that have been victimized in the last 30 days.  

Empire brewing company general manager Breanne Barzee says they’ve received the funny money…

Governors Andrew Cuomo's office
Scott Willis, WAER News

 Syracuse’s roughly 350 firefighters have been awarded a contract, though it’s the result of two years of acrimonious negotiations that ended up in court.  

Tourism Officials Welcome NCAA Tournament Basketball Fans

Mar 25, 2015
Scott Willis / WAER News

  College basketball fans from all over the country will be coming to Syracuse this weekend for the next two rounds of the NCAA men’s division one tournament.  The east regional sweet sixteen and elite eight will be played at the Carrier Dome.  A local organizing committee has been preparing for the event since last fall. vice president of sales and services for visit Syracuse Tracey Burke says the organization has been working to make sure visitors feel welcome.

http://www.syrgov.net/Dept_of_Public_Works.aspx / City of Syracuse Department of Public Works

  The city of Syracuse is changing its yard waste schedule pick up to give residents an extra week to make that initial spring clean up and set out their brush and leaves. Department of Public Works Commissioner Pete O'Connor says it'll make the process more reliable for residents and help his crews keep on schedule. The new schedule begins with the northeast quadrant on April 4 and April 5.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County residents are being asked to engage in a community conversation about the future of local governments.  A commission on government modernization called Consensus is holding the next in a series of presentations Tuesday, March 24th in DeWitt.  Onondaga County is the first in the state to undertake a baseline review of government structure, their costs, and the nature and extent of services provided to residents.  

Chair of public engagement with Consensus Melanie Littlejohn knows the concept is not new, but the report is intended to continue the conversation. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

They're from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and  Macedonia.  Also, Germany, Ethiopia, and Guatemala.  Even Bolivia, South Korea and here in the U.S.  

  Nine student panelists from around the world spoke Wednesday at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School in commemoration of 20th anniversary of the United Nations Fourth  world conference on women. The panelists shared their personal stories of injustices faced as women in their own countries.

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